Two fascinating discussions are taking place today. They are actually one subject, but are coming from two perspectives.
One discussion has to do with transgendered individuals.
The other has to do with understanding how we define what is masculine and feminine.
This isn’t a scientific examination of the topics. I’ll leave that to scientists.
The two discussions are related and it seems appropriate that they are being held at the same time.
Society remains patriarchal; men are the models for normality, intelligence, leadership, and women are always in the position of trying to catch up or make up for their “natural deficiencies.”
Boys are taught to be boys; girls are required to be girls. It’s amazing how many girls fight that limited existence and behave like “tomboys.” That’s allowed because being a boy is “more than” being a girl, so girls who act as tomboys are stepping up to a higher level of existence. But if a boy behaves “like a girl,” he is mocked, humiliated, laughed at, severely punished, because there is nothing worse for a boy than to act “like a girl.” How could any boy want to lower himself to that level?
Girls and women have been “allowed” (after a long fight) to wear “men’s” clothing; but boys and men are definitely not “allowed” to wear “women’s” clothing, because that would demean them, trivialize them, deprive them of their legitimacy and authority.
Today we are beginning to hear spoken aloud what has always been known behind closed doors. The division between men/women or masculine/feminine is not a line. Instead gender is a long continuum. At one end are characteristics identified as masculine; at the other end are characteristics identified as feminine.
Perhaps a few persons reside at either end of the continuum; but almost everyone resides somewhere in between. No doubt we all have abilities, skills, preferences, needs that are traditionally assigned to the “other” gender. We all know women who naturally look, act, or feel more masculine; we all know men who look, act, or feel more feminine. Again, while women can “get away” with displaying these “strong” qualities, men who display more gentle, vulnerable qualities are punished and forced into tough manhood.
In reality, characteristics are not gender-specific. They belong to the pool of human characteristics.
The human race has wasted, absolutely wasted, half of human potential by trying to imprison women and men in opposite camps. We have to stop using toy trucks and the color pink to tell us who we are.
It is time we stopped abusing our children by forcing them into shapes and behaviors and expectations that are artificial, disfiguring, and humiliating violations of their natures. Recently I’ve heard of both “masculine women” and “feminine men” pushing against those false prison walls. How can one not admire the courage of those willing to step up to take the punishment for speaking truth to power.
That leads into the other discussion. It’s the same discussion, but it occurs prior to the other, prior even to birth. We are still learning how children are formed in the womb. We actually all begin as female; at one point the female characteristics can become male characteristics. We are not so different from one another. The same features can become either a clitoris or a penis; ovaries or testicles, mammary glands or inactive nipples. Development is incredibly complex. All kinds of changes may or may not occur, may or may not be completed within the womb.
If the full emerging of one gender does not take place before birth, or is not recognized by the time of birth, then it occurs when the individual is ready.
Why are we telling people they must be the gender they “were at birth,” when only the individual can know that when articulation becomes possible?
Society is still trying to manipulate us into two camps.
Life is more complex than our small minds can fully understand.
Humans are more complex than we fully appreciate. We are more than a vagina or penis.
We need to respect the entire process of life and human development.
And we need to stop shoving people into gendered camps and gendered bathrooms. As though that somehow prevents questions or solves problems. It only keeps us ignorant.